Four Texas men could be charged with a hate crime after allegedly using Grindr, a popular gay dating app, to their target victims in a string of violent home invasions.
Anthony Shelton, 19, Nigel Garrett, 21, Chancler Encalade, 20, and Cameron Ajiduah, 18, were indicted Wednesday on federal hate crime and conspiracy charges in four home invasions in the Dallas area, CNN reports. The men are said to have used Grindr to pass themselves off as a single gay man, and made arrangements to meet their victims at their homes in January and February.
Once inside the homes, however, the men allegedly assaulted their victims, tied them up and shouted anti-LGBTQ epithets, according to the report. In each case, the men carried a gun, and stole personal property from their victims, including a car, according to The Washington Post.
If convicted on the hate crime charge, the men could face up to life in prison, along with a $250,000 fine. They’ve also been charged with kidnapping, carjacking and possession of a firearm while committing their crimes.
The North Texas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Jeanne Rubin told CBS 11 News that she’s grateful to see the four invasions being investigated as hate crimes. “You can be scared as a homeowner if your neighbor is robbed,” Rubin said, “but it’s different if you feel like you’re being targeted for some reason and in this case a whole community can feel like they’re targeted.”
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